A Tale of Two Mothers
Narrator (It would be good if they could wear some kind of ceremonial outfit)
Once on a beautiful planet – skies of blue, clothed in green and banded with earth of every kind, with a warm sun and sweet breezes that embraced the whole world. . .
Once, in a corner of that world, two boys were born who would forever change the course of history. . .
Once, in the time when history was first imagined, two mothers each had a vision of gods and kingdoms, of the rise and fall of nations, of peace and violence, of healing and change . . . .
This is their story. This is a true story although the facts may have changed over time. This is the story of how we became who we are now.
First. let us tell of Atia Balba Secunda, middle daughter of the sister of Julius Caesar, mother of the Emperor Augustus, step-grandmother of the Emperor Tiberius, great grandmother of the Emperor Claudius, great great great grandmother of the Emperor Caligula and the Empress Agrippina the Younger, and great great great grandmother of the Emperor Nero.
(Trumpet flourish as Atia enters dressed in a long “Roman” toga, or something els estately and moves with great dignity to the pulpit.)
Atia: It is said that I will marry Gaius Octavius the governor of Macedonia, but I am not interested in politics. I am interested in being faithful to the gods, reverent of speech, and focussed on good works. I will raise my children to be responsible citizens of the Republic and leaders in the economy of Rome.
Narrator: The other mother was named Mary of Nazareth. The gospels vary in her lineage. Matthew said that her blood line could be traced back to Abraham and King David. Luke traced her family origins to King David, even to Adam, as well as more humble ancestors.
(Cow bells or chimes. Enter Mary wearing a simple outfit. She moves to the lectern.)
Mary: It is said that I will marry Joseph, but he is a widower and already has a family, with sons older than I. What will I do with such an elderly husband especially when I am seeing that cute Roman soldier Panthera.
Narrator: Before the man who would become Caesar Augustus was born, Atia had an odd experience.
Atia: I can hardly speak about this strange experience. I had come to the temple of Apollo in the middle of the night to take my turn to pray. While all of us slept, a snake glided over my body. When I awoke I realized that the snake had marked me in colours like a serpent. (Put on coloured mask) Because of this condition, I could no longer go to the public baths and I hid in my home until my son, Octavius, was born and the marks disappeared. (Remove mask) I knew then that he was the son of Apollo.
Narrator: Mary also had a vision but it happened before her betrothal to Joseph.
Mary: I was studying so that I could help with the family accounts when a beautiful stranger appeared to me. (Enter angel.) The stranger clearly came from God. Who else could be so amazing!
Angel:You look shocked. Don’t be afraid. Everything is going to work out for the best. God has favoured you and you will have a baby but Joseph will not be the father.
Mary (if the angel speaks) Awkward!
Angel: I know, I know, but really it will be okay. Your child will be a king, child of the Most High, the Top! He will inherit the kingdom of God and you will be remembered forever. Let me take care of Joseph. It will all be good. I promise. (The angel winks and smiles and leaves)
Narrator: In later years, Atia and Mary looked back at their lives and pondered all that had happened to them and to their sons. (If no other actors, an a/v background may be created)
Atia: There was a shooting comet on the night of Octavius’ birth. It was a sign. He became the first emperor of Rome. He had tens of thousands of soldiers and generals at his call. (Enter soldiers)
Mary: Jesus became a friend to the oppressed farmers and the homeless of Israel. Shepherds came to his birth and marvelled that a star seemed to stay over the stable where we were staying with the animals. (Enter shepherds and animals)
Atia: Senators and poets wrote about the miracle of his birth and later admired his deeds in history. (Some folks in togas)
Mary: Angels came to sing when Jesus was born. All who were low could see them and the love that they expressed. (Angels led in by Gabriel)
Atia: Elephants, camels, horses and chariots showed my son’s strength and power.
Mary: Children and women followed Jesus’ everywhere and he joked and laughed with them. He was born in a stable and animals seemed to know him. (A gang of animals, some for Atia and some for Mary; again audio visual alternative)
Atia: In the senate, they named my son venerable, august, Lord of all, Saviour of the world, Prince of Peace because he conquered the world and subdued it. He was the son of God.
Mary: The crowds following him called Jesus their Lord and teacher, their friend and Saviour because he showed them that violence will not win forever. He was the son of God.
Atia: My son’s name will never be forgotten by those who would rule the world. All soldiers will carry his intentions into battle.
Mary: My son will live forever in all people who are true of heart. From generation to generation, they will call him blessed and beloved and his kingdom will endure as long as there are those who will offer their lives in loving service.
Narrator: And that is the story of how two men living at the same time in history came to be known by us. It is up to you to choose which one for you is the sign of peace.
Which one for you is beloved.(Pause after each question)
Which one for you will give you hope.
Whose God you will choose
Whose way you will follow all your life.
Therefor choose in this time in your history.